The Court of Appeal has allowed seven banks to join the fight for land worth Sh100 billion that was awarded to squatters who successfully wrestled the property from then powerful politician Mark Too.
The banks- Stanbic , KCB Group , Eco Bank, National Bank of Kenya , Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa and Co-operative Bank convinced the Appellate court that part of 25, 000 acres of land was used as security in securing loans.
In 2017, the High Court ordered the cancellation of the title deeds for persons who had acquired the property from Mr Too and ceded the prime land to over 1000 squatters who claimed they were offered the land by the politician in 1998.
The lenders said they are prejudiced by the order made by Justice Anthony Ombwayo, cancelling titles yet they hold several of the titles as security, for loans given to their customers.
The banks told Justices Hannah Okwengu, Gatembu Kairu and Jamila Mohammed that it was in the interest of justice that they be allowed to produce copies of the titles and the securities.
“We find that the circumstances before us present an exceptional situation in which persons who were not parties in the trial have been joined at the appellate stage and need to adduce evidence to substantiate their alleged interest,” the Judges said in reference to the banks petitions.
“It is clear that the applicants not having been parties in the trial court, had no opportunity to present the evidence which they now want to place before this Court.”
More than 100 people and institutions have since appealed against the 2017 judgment arguing that the land had been subdivided and sold to third parties, who were not given a chance to be heard.
Lonrho Agri-Business (EA) Ltd, Fanikiwa Ltd and ltd Mary Jepkemboi and Sophie Jelimo Too who are the joint administrators of the estate of late Mr Too, have also appealed against the judgment.
The squatters through their lawyer William Arusei had opposed the application by the banks saying they had nothing to do with the contracts between the banks and individuals.
In the 2017 judgment, Justice Ombwayo said each squatter should get a minimum of four acres and directed the chief registrar of titles to issue them with title deeds. The family of Mr Too should retain 66.7 acres, the judge said.
Prof Tom Ojienda who represents Fanikiwa ltd argued that over 10,000 titles were given to different institutions, companies and individuals, and although Mr Too was a director of the company, the squatters chose to sue him in his individual capacity.
Prof Ojienda also pointed out that the squatters under Sirikwa Group were registered in 2006 yet they claimed they were given the land in 1998.